Woodside’s approach to assessment is broadly in line with the findings and recommendations of the Final Report of the Commission on Assessment Without Levels published by DfE in September 2015. From September 2015, national curriculum levels were no longer used for statutory assessments. Assessment without levels gave our school the opportunity to develop our own approaches to assessment that focus on teaching and learning and are tailored to the curriculum followed by the school.
The school uses two main types of assessment: summative assessment and formative assessment. These are sometimes referred to as assessment of learning and assessment for learning, respectively. Both happen in almost all classrooms.
Summative assessment sums up what a pupil has achieved at the end of a period of time, relative to the learning aims and the relevant national standards. The period of time may vary, depending on what the teacher wants to find out. There may be an assessment at the end of a topic, at the end of a term or half-term, at the end of a year or, as in the case of the national curriculum tests, at the end of a key stage. In our school we have summative assessments every term. Our summative assessment summarises attainment at a particular point in time and will provide individual and cohort data.
Formative assessment takes place on a day-to-day basis during teaching and learning, allowing teachers and pupils to assess attainment and progress more frequently. It begins with diagnostic assessment, indicating what is already known and what gaps may exist in skills or knowledge. If a teacher and pupil understand what has been achieved to date, it is easier to plan the next steps. As the learning continues, further formative assessments indicate whether teaching plans need to be amended to reinforce or extend learning.
Formative assessments may be questions, tasks, quizzes or more formal assessments. Often formative assessments may not be recorded at all, except perhaps in the lesson plans drawn up to address the next steps indicated.
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